Pre-ordering breakfast, early Xmas shopping included in 'magical' checkout experiences
Rich DeMuro, a tech reporter for Los Angeles TV station KTLA, met up with Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue for a televised segment that aired Monday night, showing the two men shopping around town for various items and paying for them with Apple Pay. The spree, which took place in Santa Monica, included pre-ordering and paying for breakfast from Panera Bread using the app before the men even arrived at the restaurant, and later buying items from various retailers, including the Apple Store.
Clerks expected to ditch lanyards
Apple is planning some minor changes at its retail stores in preparation for the holiday season, sources say. One of these includes dressing clerks in red holiday shirts. A permanent adjustment, though, will involve removing neck lanyards from the standard uniform; to compensate for the lack of ID, clerks will reportedly be asked to introduce themselves more often.
Handful of grocery chains supporting platform so far
Winn-Dixie and sibling grocery chain Bi-Lo have started accepting Apple Pay, accounts say. Both are based in the southeastern US, in states such as Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. There are over 500 Winn-Dixie outlets, and more than 800 Bi-Lo locations. With the new additions, there are still only five grocery chains in the US that support Apple Pay; the others include Meijer, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.
All 1,400 US locations ready, retailer says
Business supply chain Staples has begun accepting Apple Pay at all of its 1,400 US retail locations, according to an announcement. Retail shoppers must have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The company has also begun accepting Apple Pay through its iOS app, however, where people with an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 can also make purchases.
EMV tech becoming standard in US by end of 2015
Retail payment service Square has opened up preorders for a new version of the Square Reader, designed to scan chip-based credit and debit cards. It supports older stripe-based cards as well, and the company is promising end-to-end encryption, as well as active tamper detection. It's compatible with iOS and Android, requiring only the appropriate apps and an account with Square for paying service fees.
Budget retailer to host three short-term 'events'
Walmart will be including Apple products in three different US Black Friday sales "events," the retailer has announced. The first event, actually scheduled for November 27 starting at 6PM local time, will include a 16GB non-Retina first-gen Wi-Fi iPad mini for $199 ($50 less than Apple's price), bundled with a $30 gift card. Customers also be able to buy a set of Beats Wireless headphones for $149, $130 below normal retail price.
Location could include store, office space
Apple has leased a major portion of the Broadway Trade Center in downtown Los Angeles, a new rumor claims. The building measures 1.1 million square feet, and currently has several shops on the ground floor and a manufacturer above. Apple has allegedly signed a lease for "several hundred thousand" square feet; the rumor, from an anonymous source, further suggests that Apple may turn the building into miniature campus with offices, residences, and an Apple Store. A portion of the campus might even be dedicated to selling Beats products.
Store could be intended to attract Belgian shoppers
Apple is preparing a new store in Lille, France which, barring unusual delays, should open in November, reports say. A black construction facade with the company's logo has been spotted on Rue Faidherbe; such barricades usually go up in the last few weeks before a store opening. The shop should span two floors, and take up slightly over 15,000 square feet.
Deal in-store only
As a part of a November 8 promotional event, the US branch of Best Buy will be giving away gift cards with purchases of an iPad Air or MacBook Air. Buyers of a first- or second-generation iPad Air will get a $50 card; the card value jumps to $100 when buying a MacBook. Shoppers must go to "select" retail outlets to qualify.
Could trigger retail war
(Updated with news of CurrentC hack) Retailers partnering with MCX on the upcoming CurrentC mobile payment system are contractually obligated to use CurrentC exclusively, according to the New York Times. Several of the retailers say that if they break their contracts, there are steep fines in place. This will block several popular payment platforms, namely Apple Pay, Softcard, and Google Wallet.
Company admits to sagging iTunes music sales
Apple's 2014 10-K filing, just published by the Securities and Exchange Commission, shows major increases in acquisitions and research spending. Even excluding its $3 billion Beats takeover, the company still managed to increase acquisition spending from $496 million to $957 million during the last fiscal year. Annual research and development spending has more than doubled during the past three years, rising from $2.4 billion to $6 billion.
Claims public, business response to service 'overwhelmingly positive'
Apple has issued a formal response to CVS and Rite Aid blocking Apple Pay at their stores. "The feedback we are getting from customers and retailers about Apple Pay is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic," the company says. "We are working to get as many merchants as possible to support this convenient, secure and private payment option for consumers. Many retailers have already seen the benefits and are delighting their customers at over 220,000 locations."
Service would help shoppers make better decisions about online purchases
Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson, along with his former Apple colleague Jerry McDougal and former Apple creative director Tom Suiter have teamed up in a new retail-oriented startup endeavor called Enjoy, promising to help consumers spend more wisely instead of just aiming for the cheapest price. The company, which launches next year, will help consumers make smarter choices on buying, such as educating shoppers on the finer points of a camera to promote the best overall value.
Argues China will become company's biggest market
As part of his trip to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has told local media that the company is planning to open 25 stores in Greater China during the next two years. "Greater" China includes not just mainland China but Hong Kong and Taiwan. So far there are no Apple Stores in Taiwan, but there are three in Hong Kong and a dozen on the mainland, most of those being split between Beijing and Shanghai.
Option temporarily restricted to Wi-Fi models
Shoppers at Apple's online store now have the option of selecting Personal Pickup as a delivery option for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. When preorders opened last Friday, the company required all orders to be shipped. Notably, some stores are listed as having iPads ready for pickup today, even though Apple Store workers are saying they won't have tablets on sale until later this week, or even next week. Shipped orders are beginning to arrive on doorsteps however.
Demand may have pushed up schedule
A loyalty program for Apple Pay may be ready to go in time for the holidays, says Bank Innovation. Some retail sources had previously suggested this was unlikely, in part because of doubt about the prospects of a large shift in customer behavior happening right before the holiday season. Real-world market demand may be pushing up the timetable for a loyalty offering, however.
Country's first location with more conventional design
Apple's second store in Turkey is launching this Saturday at 10AM, the company has announced. The outlet is situated on one of the middle floors of Istanbul's Akasya Shopping Mall. It will be open from 10AM to 10PM seven days a week, and the company is already beginning to accept reservations for appointments including workshops and Genius Bar service.
Company's performance generally healthy
In the wake of its official announcement, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its Q4 financial results. On a regional basis, the company did well in most cases, for example increasing Americas revenue 17 percent year-over-year to $16.247 billion, and European revenue 19 percent to $9.535 billion. "Greater" China -- including Hong Kong and Taiwan -- advanced one percent to $5.778 billion, and Japan was up five percent to $3.507 billion. Only the rest of the Asia Pacific region saw problems, with revenue dipping three percent to $1.923 billion. Global retail sales rose 15 percent to $5.133 billion.
Relative handful of third-party apps currently showing support
The official Apple Store app has been updated to v3.1, enabling support for online Apple Pay transactions. Shoppers can now also make NFC-based payments at the company's retail outlets, but this doesn't require an app update; in either scenario, users must have a compatible device running iOS 8.1, which was released earlier today. Online payments are supported by the iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. Only the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can be used at retail.
Comes despite companies settling lawsuit
In spite of the two companies settling a lawsuit over noise cancellation patents, Apple has gone ahead and removed Bose headphones and speakers from its online store, visitors note. Rumors surfaced a week ago that Apple was planning to remove Bose products from its stores. Why it would want to was uncertain, but one point of speculation was animosity because of the lawsuit.
Decision may be linked to Apple Watch
Apple may, in the near future, stop selling Fitbit products at its retail stores, sources claim. No explanation has been given, but it's speculated that the reason may be the Apple Watch, which is shipping early next year and will share similar functions, even if it's more expensive and not intended purely as a fitness device. So far, Apple doesn't appear to be taking action against any other fitness trackers, but Fitbit controls nearly 70 percent of that market.
Plan only pegged for 'the near future'
Authorized Apple service providers -- and presumably Apple itself -- will soon start servicing Beats speakers and headphones, according to a memo to providers obtained by a Greek website. The message states that "in the near future, Apple will be responsible for providing service" for Beats products. The company adds that it is now sending out contract addendums, and will publish articles explaining the exact processes for handling Beats gear.
Company increasing pace of US store openings as new products roll out
Apple has departed from its slower 1-2 new or revamped store openings per month for its US operations, and will launch its third and fourth US-based stores this month in Florida and New Hampshire, respectively, this week. Following on the heels of store openings in Marlborough, Massachusetts and Trumbull, Connecticut, the company will unveil its next store in Sarasota, Florida as part of the grand opening of a new, $315 million University Town Center mall on October 16. A new store in Manchester, New Hampshire will open on October 18.
Official announcement expected at Oct. 16th press event
A leaked internal memo from US pharmacy chain Walgreens suggests that Apple Pay will launch this Saturday, October 18. The memo asks store managers to prepare workers for questions from the public. It also suggests that people will "only need to tap their iPhone 6 to the upper portion of the pinpad" to make a purchase. In truth the technology is slightly more complex, requiring a person to have a digit on their Touch ID sensor, and Apple Pay pre-configured with the card(s) they intend to use.
Beats acquisition may be to blame
(Updated with references to Bose/Beats lawsuit) Apple is preparing to pull all of Bose's audio products from its stores, according to sources for MacRumors and MacNN. The MacRumors source says that the inventory change is due to start next week, and that workers will get instructions in the next few days. Commenting on the claim, the MacNN source suggests that it's likely true and "falls in line with a shelving reorganization for Christmas that we've already seen that's got nothing from Bose on it."
New York Amazon store claimed to act as mini warehouse for same-day deliveries
Amazon may be preparing to open its first physical retail store, reports claim, with an experimental store set to be unveiled in New York City. The online retailer is allegedly looking to open its first brick-and-mortar location on 34th Street in Manhattan, with the space expected to be turned into an Amazon pop-up store in time for the holiday shopping period.
Project years in development
Apple will finally open a long-awaited store in Edinburgh, Scotland on October 18, according to an official banner outside the shop. Efforts to build an Edinburgh outlet date back to at least 2010. Once a location on Princes Street was secured, the company then spent over a year in construction. This was followed by another nine-month delay as it worked to finalize the store's design.
Country's 15th location
[Updated with two American store openings] On Saturday at 10AM local time, Apple is opening a new Italian store in Marghera, near Venice, according to the company's website. The outlet will be based in the Nave de Vero shopping center, which has over 100 stores spanning several floors. Apple's usual black construction facade went up in the mall earlier this year.
HR promises more perks for retail staff
Apple's HR head, Denise Young Smith, has issued a memo to workers illustrating new and expanded benefits the company is implementing. These include extended parental leave, education reimbursements for classes taken, an expanded donation-matching program, subsidized student loan refinancing, and full acceleration of stock in the case of a worker's death. The parental leave changes mean that American mothers with Apple can take up to four weeks prior to delivery, and up to 14 weeks after; their partners can take up to six weeks. While not radical, the upgrade makes Apple more competitive with other major Silicon Valley firms.
Jonathan Ive, Marc Newson among celebrities present
Today's Apple Watch event at Colette mostly involved units running on demo loop behind locked glass, visitors say. Members of the press are being allowed to wear the product, but even then, the hardware is still running on loop. Apple is also declining to provide any more information on specifications, pricing, or a launch date.
Could involve public hands-on
Apple and a Parisian fashion boutique, Colette, are planning a "one day only experience" on September 30, according to the latter's website. The event will run from 11AM to 7PM local time at Colette's storefront on Rue Saint-Honoré. Although neither company has said so explicitly, it appears to involve the Apple Watch, since Apple has adopted a fashion angle to marketing the product and the logo for the event resembles the Watch's homescreen.
Flagship Microsoft Store several blocks away from iconic Apple Cube store
Microsoft will be launching its first flagship retail location in Manhattan, a few blocks away from Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue glass cube store. The software giant has confirmed its Microsoft Store will be taking the place of a Fendi shop located at 677 Fifth Avenue, with executives claiming the store has already been five years in the making.
China still not on list due to regulatory morass; grey market thriving
While buyers in China impatiently wait for their government to move the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus through a complicated regulatory process that prevented the new smartphones from being in the first wave of countries offering it, Apple is moving ahead with its expansion of retail sales to another 22 countries beginning today. The US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK saw long lineups and record demand on September 19, a phenomenon that is likely to be repeated.
Administrators refer Phones 4U customers to credit card companies
Customers of UK retailer Phones 4U may not receive a refund for their pre-ordered iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. PWC, the administrators of the failed retail chain, has effectively reversed an earlier decision to allow for refunds to proceed, with affected customers now extremely unlikely to receive a refund directly from the company at all.
Approximately 900 jobs to be saved by store sale
More stores from failed British mobile phone retailer Phones 4U are being scooped up for use by a second carrier, with shops to be rebranded and reopened in a short space of time. EE, operator of Orange and T-Mobile in the country, has signed a deal with administrators to acquire 58 of the stores from the company, pending court approval, and in the process attempt to keep on 359 affected employees at the locations.
Rebranding of 140 Phones 4U stores to Vodafone expected in coming weeks
European carrier Vodafone is going to attempt to help some of the employees affected by UK retailer Phones 4U's administration proceedings. The mobile phone network will step in and acquire 140 of the chain's stores across the country, and in the process take on approximately 900 of the affected 5,596 staff at the saved locations.
Apple executives drum up publicity for iPhone 6 launch
For today's iPhone 6 launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook made an appearance at the Palo Alto Apple Store, while retail head Angela Ahrendts helped launch the phone in Sydney, Australia -- one of the first places in the world to get the device. Cook is said to have taken selfie photos with the crowd, and joked that he'd gotten the phone several months ago. Ahrendts was spotted talking with Apple Store clerks.
iPhones 'still made in sweatshops,' group says
The launch of the iPhone 6 at Apple's Hong Kong store has been tumultuous, accounts say. Police were brought in to disperse people waiting in line without reservations, and a regional activist group -- Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, or SACOM -- took advantage of the event to protest what it says are ongoing abuses by Apple suppliers. The group unfurled a large banner over the store reading "iSlave 6, Harsher than harsher, Still made in sweatshops," and published a new document about a nearly year-long investigation into one of Apple's most important suppliers, Pegatron.
T-Mobile carrier outlets without any Plus units
While other Apple Stores saw large lines for this morning's iPhone 6 launch, the Fifth Avenue outlet in New York City saw a lineup stretching 12 city blocks, according to Business Insider. By 6AM, it had extended from 59th and 5th to 71st and 5th, despite overnight temperatures dropping to about 54F. To deal with the wait and the weather, people brought chairs, coats, and blankets.
16GB models may be completely absent
People trying to buy an iPhone 6 Plus at a third-party retailer tomorrow may be out of luck, sources at carrier stores and Apple's retail partners say. Although outlets are said to be receiving shipments all day today, only two to three percent of iPhone 6 units are said to be the Plus, and even then only in one color. There's almost "no chance" of finding a Plus on Friday, the people claim, adding that the 16GB version will be absent entirely. The regular iPhone 6 should be available in all colors and storage capacities, if in varying degrees.
Puts jobs of 5,596 people at risk
UK retailer Phones 4U has gone into administration -- the UK equivalent of bankruptcy protection -- following a decision by network operator EE not to renew a contract ending in September 2015. The company now lacks any network partners, as earlier this month Vodafone said it would skip extending its own contract. All of Phones 4U's 550 stores are shut today, and will only reopen if and when administrators decide business can resume. The situation could endanger the jobs of some 5,596 workers.
Retailers choose platform-agnostic option
Two major US retailers -- Best Buy and Walmart -- have announced that they will not support Apple Pay, according to the Wall Street Journal. The companies are instead said to be backing a payment service operated by Merchant Customer Exchange. The MCX technology requires only an app download, and is platform-agnostic, supporting older iPhones as well as Android devices. Apple Pay will be restricted to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Apple Watch.
Store to return at midnight for flood of expected early adopters
[Update: Pre-orders have begun] The familiar "We'll be back" sign has appeared on the US and other countries' online Apple Stores in advance of the expected 12AM PT Friday opening for pre-orders on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Customers in Australia, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Puerto Rico and of course the US can pre-order the devices, which will appear at retail September 19.
Catch: pricing available on 16GB models only, Sam's Club prices $2 cheaper
Walmart, as is its custom, is planning to offer the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at a slight discount from other merchants. The company is reported to be taking $20 off the standard price, lowering the cost to $179 for a base model iPhone 6, or $279 for a base-model iPhone 6 Plus (both with new two-year contract). Those who pre-order from Walmart starting tomorrow will also get a $15 e-gift card.
Company may be forced to liquidate if relief not found
Following a 10th-straight quarterly loss, electronics retailer Radio Shack noted that it may need to file for bankruptcy protections. The company, with its stock in danger of New York Stock Exchange delisting, is also reportedly evaluating other options for the future, including an outright sale, or a call for investors to boost cash stocks to survive until the generally lucrative holiday season.
Includes Apple, major carriers
[Updated with in-store pickup news] In the US, online preorders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will begin at 12:01AM Pacific time Friday morning. While Apple has yet to announce an exact hour, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all have, and traditionally Apple has opened up preorders at the same time. Other vendors, like T-Mobile, are referencing a broad September 12 window.
Switch from paper to digital
For the launch of the iPhone 6 on September 19, Apple Stores will use a new system called Reservation Pass, a report says. During past Apple product launches, people in line have typically been given paper cards specifying the particular model they asked for. This let stores keep rough track of inventory, while ensuring that people wouldn't waste their time if a model happened to be sold out.
New iPhone pricing not yet revealed, may foreshadow revised China ship date
Apple's homepage for India has revealed that the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are to debut in the country on October 17, nearly a month after the US and first-wave countries' debut. The US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Puerto Rico will all get the iPhone on the first day of retail availability, September 19. China was to have been a part of that first wave, but the iPhone has been delayed there due to foot-dragging by regulatory agencies.
Follows Verizon offer for free iPhone 6 with recent iPhone trade-in
With nine days to go before the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, retailers are beginning to bring out offers to entice current smartphone owners to cash in or trade in their current device for a discount on the cost of the latest iPhone. Following previous reports of cash-in services locking in prices and giving sellers a month to send in their phones, and Verizon offering free (base model) iPhone 6 units to those trading in a working iPhone 4 or later, Radio Shack is offering both a trade-in and gift card incentive program.
Uses NFC technology, Touch ID, Secure Element
Apple today announced Apple Pay, its long-awaited mobile payment system. The technology relies on a mix of Passbook, Touch ID, and new NFC and "Secure Element" hardware in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Users can add credit cards from their iTunes account, or take a photo of one and verify it with the bank. A credit card number isn't stored on a phone or shared, and transactions are tokenized, as was rumored. Should a phone be stolen, Find My iPhone can be used to disable purchasing functions, eliminating the need to cancel cards. Cashiers don't see any of the transaction data.